Commercial halibut fisherman addresses “misinformation”

Editor:

Editor:

I am writing this letter in response to the letter that was published on January 19, 2011 by Mr. Ron Wakita from Kitimat.

Let me start off by saying that I am a third generation commercial fisherman. Mr. Wakita’s letter if full of misinformation and misleading information.

The current allocation of Halibut was derived from a lengthy process that started in 2000. In 2002 Mr. Stephen Kelleher Q.C., who is now a BC Supreme Court judge, was retained to provide independent advice to the Minister of Fisheries on initial allocation arrangements. Justice Kelleher recommended that the recreational sector be allocated 9 per cent of the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) but the Minister in 2003 announced 12 per cent TAC to allow for future growth.

Saying that some commercial license holders may not be Canadian is out right wrong. You have to be a Canadian citizen to own a commercial license and to go commercial fishing. Yes halibut is a common resource but why should someone who doesn’t want to or is unable to go sport fishing be denied the right to go to a fish market or grocery store and buy some halibut. Commercial fishing enables people to go and do

that.

The halibut fishery closed October 18t because the TAC for the recreational sector had been reached. The reason that the commercial sector continued to fish is because the 88 per cent TAC is split up amongst the 436 licenses and each individual license can decide when between the opening and closing dates the best time to harvest its portion of the TAC is. This is most definitely a conservation issue as the halibut stocks are in a down cycle and why should one sector bear the brunt of conserving the stocks.

The aim of managing halibut stocks has always been for a sustainable fishery for ALL

users.

Robert Hauknes

Prince Rupert, BC